A 12 year old girl from Maparasha village in Kajiado Central was on Friday rescued from forced marriage to a 25 year old man.
The minor whose dowry had already been paid was rescued by police and human rights activists at the bridegroom’s home where she was already living with the man as his bride.
Police arrested the girl’s suitor and the parents and locked them up at the Kajiado Central Police station awaiting arraignment in court.
Area sub-county Police Commander Daudi Lornyokwe said Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages were still rampant in the area especially now that schools are closed. He noted dowry negotiation and traditional weddings were now being done at night to evade the law.
Lornyokwe urged locals to shun such retrogressive cultures that infringe on the rights of the girl-child adding that the practices were outdated.
He warned that FGM is a criminal offence under the prohibition of the Female Genital Mutilation Act, Children’s Act and the penal code and those caught breaking the law would be dealt with accordingly.
“Cases of early marriages are still very common in this community. These are outdated practices which should be left in the past. I want to warn those marrying off underage girls that they will be arrested and dealt with accordingly. We will not relent in this fight, I want to urge all residents to report such cases to us immediately for action,” he said.
The commander added that early marriages deny the girls opportunity to complete their education and live their lives to the fullest.
He advised parents and guardians to educate their girls as they are the future of the society.
Despite Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages being banned in Kenya in 2011, the illegal act still continues in secrecy robbing thousands of innocent young girls of an opportunity to live their childhood to the fullest.
According to The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2016-2017, 3 out of 10 girls in Kenya today face the risk of undergoing FGM.
80 percent of Maasai women and 86 percent of Samburu women between the ages of 15 and 49 have undergone the ‘cut’.
In Kajiado County, FGM has been hard to eliminate completelysince the practice is considered a way of life and culture of the Maasai community.
Once a girl is cut, they are considered to be women and are married off to older suitors after their dowry is paid.
By Rop Janet